- Mash - For my mash I usually use a brown rice base. To that I add vegetables which can be chopped, cut up or food processed depending on your birds and how they prefer their food. Sometimes I use a frozen veggie mix. I will also sometimes through in some raw pasta, baby food, raw oatmeal and ground flax seed. Sometimes I add in one of the ready made mixes like Goldenfeast, or Krazy Korn as well. You can be creative.
- Grain Bake - I just recently learned about these and started making them. Basically, you fill a baking dish with different grains, cover it with water and bake it for an hour at 350 degrees. I have put brown rice, pasta, oatmeal, fruits, veggies, just whatever! Again, you can be creative!
- Bird bread or muffins - I love to make bird bread or muffins for the birds and they love eating them. I will sometimes buy a bird bread mix such as Avian Organics or Mama Bird which basically contains everything you need and simply fix that. Other times, I will use a muffin mix, like Jiffy, add some veggies, seed, pellets or whatever you think your bird will like and cook it up. The birds love it and it can be a great way to convert a seed only eating bird.
- Many times I simply cut up veggies for them. I usually cook sweet potatoes and carrots, but leave things like squash raw. I offer fruit as well, but more veggies than fruit. I sometimes offer lettuce, which for the small birds, I hang in the cage. It doesn't have a huge amount of nutritional value, but it is still enriching and they love it.
- Chop - You can make a chop by simply chopping or food processing (depending on the size of your bird) and mixing it all together.
- Dry mixes - I buy different dry mixes and keep them on hand for days when I will be gone long and unable to take out the wetter foods that may spoil. I offer veggie crisps, dried fruits and veggies, mixes such as My Safe Bird Store's Quacker Jax, Bountiful Harvest or Veggie Crisp. Sometimes I make my own by throwing in a bunch of dry pasta, some dry cereal like cheerios and shredded wheat, some dried veggies, etc.
- Other stuff - I save leftover pasta and will throw in some veggies and offer that. I sometimes make my birds scrambled eggs and a little wheat toast. I sometimes offer comfort feedings of warmed baby food, mixed with a little oatmeal.
- Skewers - Some birds love to eat hanging food. Try using a skewer and hanging fresh, raw fruits and veggies in the cage. I like to do corn cob wheels, halved jalapenos, fruit, pepper pieces, just whatever you think your bird might like!
- Many of these things can be made in large batches and divided up so you have some for now and some to freeze.
- Remember when feeding fresh food that is wet or moist to take it out of the cage a couple of hours after serving it so that it doesn't spoil.
Always offer fresh food first thing in the morning. This is when the birds are most hungry. I do not ever withhold food to get them to eat something else, but I will feed the things that they eat more readily after having offered them something fresh.
When I am offering a new food to the birds, I usually sprinkle some seed and/or pellet on the top or even incorporate it into the new food to get them to try it. I have found that when doing vegetables, many birds love corn and peas, so you can try those.
With some birds, if hold the food, look at the food and even pretend or actually eat the food, they will give it a try.
Most birds will try it if they live with other birds who eat it. So, if you have groups of birds living together, one may start and get everyone to try it!
I offer it every day and continue to offer it, even if they don't eat it. It can take quite a while for birds to realize that something is edible and to actually want to try it.
Be creative! Don't be afraid to try new things, just make sure that they are bird safe.